I was recently reminded with the impact of a freight train precisely why I have this thing about balloons (I hate them; I hate balloons). So today I’m going to explain my reasoning – and try to convince you to join me in vetoing them, with some excellent suggestions of balloon alternatives.
We recently took Pixie to watch a super fun Peppa Pig production. Just in case the sarcasm isn’t clearly audible through your screen – it wasn’t really fun; it was tolerable as a treat for our daughter. When we left the auditorium at the end, there were balloons for sale.
Ohmagahd – I really, really can’t stand them.
Is it weird that I not only have a strong dislike of balloons, but I do so with such passion and vigour that I can actually write an entire post about the subject? Oh well. Here’s why you should too:
11 Reasons I Hate Balloons – and So Should You
The many reasons you should be keen to look at pretty balloon alternatives I’ve listed at the bottom of this post…
First up, the freight train impact to which I referred above was my three year old daughter’s inevitable crying for a piece of foil with Peppa bloody Pig’s face on it. This is commercialism gone frigging crazy and this year I’m boycotting the practice as far as I dare.
It’s almost March and so far I think I’ve bought only two cards. I shall endeavour to buy no more – instead they’ll be handmade by Pixie so there’s at least some sentimental value for the receiver – and so I’m not spending money on landfill. I also intend to buy no blinking balloons, and limit the number which find their way (via grandparents) into our home.
Oh god. The stink of rubber makes me want to heave. We all have our personal triggers and this is mine.
Not only is purchasing a balloon essentially shoring up the commercialism I so detest, it’s also draining on our resources which could be better spent on
wine and shoes family days out.
Not only is purchasing a balloon essentially shoring up the commercialism I so detest and draining on our resources, it’s also completely flaming POINTLESS! What do you do with a sodding balloon?
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH IT?
Unlike, say, glitter or fireworks, the point of balloons is not even that they’re a thing of beauty. At least with the former there’s a dubious reason to suspend one’s morals – not so with balloons which are plain tacky.
Call me overprotective or a joy thief, but when you have a baby you have to be aware of every potential hazard. In my home at the moment, fluff on the floor is a legitimate hazard. A balloon popping is hazardous in not one but two separate ways:
- It could pop and hit my baby in the face;
- Arguably more serious: it could wake her up.
Even if I relent and allow Pixie to have the damn things, they don’t last, do they?
You put them somewhere to basically watch them die.
Seriously – get the bastard things out of my house.
Once they’ve become even more pointless and are finally ready to be removed from floating around in my way, making me feel queasy – they go to landfill. Yay for landfill…
Unless, of course, they don’t even make it that far. In which case it’s no better than a bizarrely accepted form of littering – which ultimately becomes a threat to our wildlife.
Balloons are unethical on every level: commercial targeting of children – children for God’s sake; the effects on the environment and wildlife; the wanton extravagance of such unnecessary stuff.
Whose bright idea was it to make something with such little value but which hold such alluring wonder for our impressionable babies?
…But, what if you absolutely have to have balloons?
Are Eco Balloons a Good Alternative to Regular Balloons?
Is there such a thing? Well, there are two types of balloons in general use: latex and mylar. Let’s take a look…
Do not – please, just don’t. These are not considered biodegradable and should not be released.
But what about latex balloons, because latex is rubber, and rubber is natural – plus you will for sure have seen latex balloons marketed as the eco option, right?
Yeah, about that. Latex is better, definitely. It will degrade – eventually. But it can take up to four years, and in the meantime it can lethal to wildlife. So while they’re an improvement on mylar, the latex variety are hardly ‘eco’ balloons. Sadly, this is a form of greewashing, and not something I can recommend in good conscience.
Eco Water Balloons
This is the only kind of balloon that could legitimately be considered an eco option. There are actually a couple of different types:
Reusable Silicone Balloon
This balloon is not really a balloon at all, but a clever contraption made from silicone. You can get them here from Amazon:
Crochet Water Balloons
The other kind is not yet available on Amazon, but you can get them here. Simply soak, and they’re good to go!
So what do you think – are you convinced, or do you think regular balloons hold a certain charm? If you’re ready to make an eco swap, here are some excellent balloon alternatives to try…
Fabulous Balloon Alternatives
There are so many gorgeous other options that there’s really no reason to go for the unimaginative default of balloons. Here are a few of my favourite alternatives to balloons:
What child doesn’t adore bubbles? There’s something a little bit magical about them, isn’t there? Plus they can be involved in helping you to make eco-friendly ones!
Another lovely little craft to do together! These can be created using a variety of colours and techniques, and placed around the room or hung as decorations.
If you’re having a children’s party, why not consider gifting kites instead of sweets and plastic tat? My girls are so totally enthralled by a kite, no child would be disappointed with this eco alternative to balloons!
Another brilliant idea for garden parties – plus really simple for the little ones to get involved, be creative – and encourage some exercise afterwards too:
Streamers are best displayed when in flight!
Again, you can rope children into helping to make paper garlands or paper chains – and you can be as colourful as you like! If you have a scheme, you can incorporate it – or go wild with a rainbow of colours.
So effective, gorgeously pretty, totally customisable to fit your colour scheme, and easy to make with the children – this one is a winner!
Bunting and Banners
A favourite of mine because there’s so much scope for personalisation, and something my eldest loves to do with me! The only limitation here is your imagination. You can use scraps of fabric, hand-drawn pictures, or any shape you wish to fit a party theme.
Bonus: bunting can be folded and put away to be reused later.
Yet another fun craft to do with the kids!
These are often found in shops – made of plastic, bleurgh. But that’s completely unnecessary – you can easily create beautiful paper pinwheels which are equally vibrant, yet also kind to the environment.
As you can see, there are sooo many wonderful alternatives to balloons, which are beautiful and environmentally friendly!